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Hotel Portofino

My local newspaper reviewer described it as Downton Abbey meets The Durrells as made by Merchant Ivory.

I and sure Downton Abbey meets The Durrells is how it was pitched but the Merchant Ivory but I’m not getting, what with the terrible writing, middling direction, lack of battle male buttocks and C-List cast.

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by Anonymousreply 86November 20, 2023 12:11 PM

Anna Chancellor does her best, but it’s pretty woeful.

You know it’s low budget when British actors dust off their shorty American accents. I like Adam James, but he and the Josephine Baker chick sound terrible.

by Anonymousreply 1February 10, 2022 6:54 AM

McElhone was pretty good in an actual Merchant Ivory movie, "Surviving Picasso", but it's one of their weaker efforts.

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by Anonymousreply 2February 10, 2022 7:06 AM

I’ve been watching this and it is very mediocre. A few thoughts:

The scenery is beautiful and really the only reason to watch.

It is billed as “a PBS/ITV Co-Production.” I imagine since PBS is listed first, they are the majority stakeholder and probably the ones allowing it to be so mediocre.

At times, it is so laughably cliché. The Italian head of police insults the hotel owner and then blows cigar smoke in his face. Any director who uses the “smoke in face” gimmick should never be allowed to work again.

There is a gay subplot but it is so ridiculously neutered. The two men are shown kissing and ripping their shirts off, then there is a cut to another scene. When we return to the gay lovers having a post-sex conversation, they are still in their pants. Who knew that gay sex in 1920s Italy consisted only of kissing and bumping bippies.

In the first episode, one character goes for a nude swim then sits on a rock to have a conversation with another character. The scene is so darkly lit that when he enters the water you can’t even see his ass. I wonder if because it’s PBS that they insisted on no nudity.

Poor Mark Umbers looks terrible. It was just 10 years ago that he was sexy in Merrily We Roll Along. Those British genes are so unkind. And his acting is so one note: of the “twirling the mustache” blackmailer variety.

Anna Chancellor is phoning in her usual upper crust lady performance. Can’t say I blame her.

Lily Frazer comes out the best. She plays an American singer and actually rises above the material she’s given. Her character is the most colorful despite being given dialogue where she has to call everyone, “Honey.” I guess it’s better than her going around calling them “chile” as in “Honey chile…”

The rest of the actors/characters are dull, cliche or overacting.

by Anonymousreply 3February 14, 2022 2:58 AM


by Anonymousreply 4February 14, 2022 3:01 AM

Is the show streaming in the US?

by Anonymousreply 5February 14, 2022 3:02 AM

What are "battle male buttocks"?

by Anonymousreply 6February 14, 2022 3:02 AM

[quote] I wonder if because it’s PBS that they insisted on no nudity.

Is this one of the British shows they show at anytime or a Masterpiece? I feel they are more comfortable with nudity, especially just an occasional ass, if it is a Masterpiece production.

by Anonymousreply 7February 14, 2022 3:15 AM

R7, it’s not a Masterpiece production. It was created for Britbox which is a subscription service, so I don’t know why there isn’t more sex.

by Anonymousreply 8February 14, 2022 3:19 AM

R8 I've figured it out it was not made for any of them. It is made by a German production company which then sold it to others including Britbox, ITV, and PBS. It is supposed to air on Britbox(UK) now and then ITV later. It isn't on Britbox (US). According to reports it will air on PBS as a Masterpiece installment.

by Anonymousreply 9February 14, 2022 3:35 AM

[quote] It is made by a German production company

Then the gay sex scene should have been more explicit. I’m not saying we needed to see it, but they could have given the impression that they actually took all their clothes off.

by Anonymousreply 10February 14, 2022 3:43 AM

R10 I get the feeling it was made in a manner to be as widely sellable as possible.

by Anonymousreply 11February 14, 2022 3:56 AM

I found it rather charming. Mainly because of the location it takes place. The episode of the younger characters having a party, while the older guests and hotel owners have dinner at some fancy woman's mansion, is my most favorite.

by Anonymousreply 12February 14, 2022 4:22 AM

Mark Umbers is a hot daddy

by Anonymousreply 13February 14, 2022 4:25 AM

[quote] Anna Chancellor is phoning in her usual upper crust lady performance.

She has a scene where she talks about going to a concert with her son before he died in the war. It was a clear standout of the otherwise rather twee scenes and story plots.

by Anonymousreply 14February 14, 2022 4:27 AM

There’s a heavily feminist thread that runs through the show. “Men can’t be trusted and we women have to stick together.”

You’ll notice the women don’t play an antagonist role in the show. The worst is that the oldest daughter finds out a secret about one of the servants. But all the women just react to the bad behavior of the men.

by Anonymousreply 15February 14, 2022 4:37 AM

There are some good guys, like the son who suffers from PTSD from his war experience. And his friend, who happens to be gay and caught up in some political drama plot.

by Anonymousreply 16February 14, 2022 4:41 AM

Oliver Dench, who plays the son with the odd accent, was in another German British co-production called The Athena (2018). It's a cheesy, kiddie teen show about an arts school. It lasted only for a season, but it featured a few new faces who moved on to other things like Ella Balinska in Charley's Angels (the one with Kristen Stewart), Basil Eidenbenz from The Witcher's second season and Chris Jenks in Sex Education's third season. Of course, the show had a lesbian / bi storyline and some flamboyant student turned out to be a straight creep.

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by Anonymousreply 17February 14, 2022 5:00 AM

R17 He is Dame Judi's nephew.

by Anonymousreply 18February 14, 2022 5:02 AM

[quote] I've figured it out it was not made for any of them. It is made by a German production company which then sold it to others including Britbox, ITV, and PBS. It is supposed to air on Britbox(UK) now and then ITV later. It isn't on Britbox (US). According to reports it will air on PBS as a Masterpiece installment.

ie so shit that even the BBC weren’t biting.

by Anonymousreply 19February 14, 2022 8:01 AM

Actually, having settled into the groove of the latest episode, I don’t mind it.

by Anonymousreply 20February 16, 2022 11:33 AM

Britbox seems to be the new British streaming platform attempt (does the BBC and ITV move away from Acorn?). It just released a new exclusive show (episode by episode instead of the whole season at once, apparently) called Sister Boniface Mysteries. A cheesy crime mystery show with some vague ties to Father Brown (according to the trailer).

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by Anonymousreply 21February 16, 2022 12:45 PM


Strange that the show tries to redeem the deadbeat of a father spending his ill-gotten gains to save the hotel in the final episode of the season, and make the wife look kind of bad when acting ungrateful towards him after what he did to her.

by Anonymousreply 22February 22, 2022 12:55 AM

I started watching this on PBS last Sunday. First ep was just so-so.

Since I have a PBS Passport, I've watched three more eps since Sunday.

And it's still so-so.

The Hotel Portofino is definitely derivative of both The Durrells of Corfu and Downton Abbey, but nearly as well-written or staged as either of these.

I'll keep watching until I can stand it no more.

by Anonymousreply 23June 22, 2022 2:47 AM

I didn't think it was that bad. I'd still do Mark Umbers

by Anonymousreply 24June 22, 2022 3:49 AM

I just watched the first episode. Setting (Croatia) is beautiful. Lots of characters introduced but it’s very flat. Anna C had very little to do. Italian policeman (?) blackmailing the owner over her love letters? With that louse of a husband, why should she care? It reminds me of that show, The Paradise, lots of people, lots of hints, none of them interesting.

by Anonymousreply 25June 22, 2022 1:43 PM

Also, it’s nothing like The Durrells. That was lots of fun with great characters and good writing, full of life. “You do realize the tide is coming in” “Yes, but it was Leslie’s idea and he doesn’t have too many of them”

by Anonymousreply 26June 22, 2022 1:47 PM

I can't stop staring at the son's ass.

by Anonymousreply 27June 22, 2022 1:51 PM

One of the daughters was such a downright cunt that the men-bad women-good argument is lost.

by Anonymousreply 28June 22, 2022 2:00 PM

Authentic period hairstyling is always iffy in even the best films but Hotel Portofino sets a new low. It looks like each actress was responsible for finding and styling their own hair/wigs however they liked. McElhone's bouffant wig would be perfect for 1964.

And too many of the men desperately need just a decent haircut.

by Anonymousreply 29June 22, 2022 2:13 PM

They probably were, I think it was a lockdown production.

by Anonymousreply 30June 22, 2022 2:18 PM

Easily 20% of each ep are mise en scene shots to impart shooting locale ambience but do not advance the story.

by Anonymousreply 31June 22, 2022 2:27 PM

The writing is truly sophomoric, banal, and far-fetched. The actors are doing the best they can with it.

by Anonymousreply 32June 22, 2022 2:34 PM

Hilarious how Anna Chancellor is costumed in Victorian frocks as an elderly dowager and yet still has her lovely auburn locks.

by Anonymousreply 33June 22, 2022 2:58 PM

Oliver Dench has a hot ass, what else do we know about him?

by Anonymousreply 34June 27, 2022 1:57 AM

So, should I watch?

by Anonymousreply 35June 27, 2022 5:08 PM

Bear in mind it is very old fashioned story-wise - it reminds me of 1970s English tv dramas - but the scenery is remarkably stunning to make it worth it.

by Anonymousreply 36June 28, 2022 7:19 PM

Having been to Portofino, I could tell that much of the show was not filmed there. Except for the drone footage, the streets, etc. looked like Croatia.

by Anonymousreply 37June 29, 2022 5:35 PM

Sure, the story and character developments are paint-by-numbers simple, basic, and twee. But, gosh, the scenery is divine. It's something you can endure when you have run out of "All Creatures Great and Small", "The Durrells", "Bridgerton", and "Downton Abbey" twee entertainment.

by Anonymousreply 38June 29, 2022 6:03 PM

I've been to Portofino, too, and am watching this largely for the drone shots. And Lucien's backside. The plotlines are very paint-by-number and the acting largely summer stock. And every day appears to be market day in Croatofino; can they think of no other kind of local color? Also, I was in Portofino in the summer, and it was So. Fucking. Hot. This lot is swanning around in layers of linen with nary a sweat stain (yes, I know the show is not a documentary, but still).

by Anonymousreply 39July 4, 2022 7:31 PM

I found it passably enjoyable.

by Anonymousreply 40July 4, 2022 7:36 PM

Anna Chancellor is too young for the part she's playing.

I too found it passably enjoyable, though barely so.

by Anonymousreply 41July 4, 2022 7:39 PM

What I don't get - though have only seen three episodes - is why the aristocratic family has any desire to hitch their daughter to the son of hotel operators, even if they are in Burke's Peerage. You'd think they'd take the view they could do better. Similarly, the girl, whatever her name was, arrived as kind of sweetness and light and then suddenly began to cower at the slightest upset.

by Anonymousreply 42July 4, 2022 7:41 PM

Oliver "Drenched" is very cute.

by Anonymousreply 43July 4, 2022 7:46 PM

Mark Umbers looked hot in his shirtless scene

by Anonymousreply 44July 4, 2022 7:50 PM

It's on PBS and Passport now. I inadvertently watched the final episode first and then watched the first episode. I was not a fan of Downton Abbey, but did enjoy the Durrells. The characters, especially the villains and the hero are so bad and so good that they are unbelievable, with the villains having the added weakness of being annoying. Complex writing makes even the bad characters have some charm and the heroes have a few flaws.The best thing about this IMO was the setting. It is absolutely gorgeous and I may try an episode with the sound off. as I find some of the plot lines irritating.

SPOILER @R22, he wasn't trying to redeem himself. He was trying to buy her off so she wouldn't subtly expose her for the creep he is. That last episode seems to be setting up a second season. There will be more of a focus on London and the betrothed couple will be working out their differences. Meanwhile the lovelorn doctor is in Portofino and who knows what waits in his future.

by Anonymousreply 45July 4, 2022 8:12 PM

Who is gay besides the Indian friend who secretly loves Lucien?

by Anonymousreply 46July 9, 2022 8:17 AM

Anna Chancellor is so handsome she should be a man.

by Anonymousreply 47July 9, 2022 8:25 AM

[quote] the terrible writing, middling direction, lack of battle male buttocks and C-List cast.

Most merchant ivory have middling script and direction. Two or three standouts like Maurice, Remains etc.

by Anonymousreply 48July 9, 2022 8:30 AM

Does PBS blur the backside? They are so timid about things like that.

by Anonymousreply 49July 9, 2022 8:41 AM

Usually, PBS *cuts* the nudity that the English are much more grown up about.

by Anonymousreply 50July 9, 2022 4:42 PM

PBS annoys the fuck out of me for it's general ability to keep operating like it's somewhere around 1979.

by Anonymousreply 51July 9, 2022 5:41 PM

PBS is still stinging from the backlash over airing Tales of the City decades ago.

by Anonymousreply 52July 9, 2022 5:58 PM

[quote] What I don't get - though have only seen three episodes - is why the aristocratic family has any desire to hitch their daughter to the son of hotel operators, even if they are in Burke's Peerage.

I believe Cecil uses the daughter's mother's crush on him to his advantage, and pawns his son off to the aristocratic family to raise his own social standing back in England.

by Anonymousreply 53July 9, 2022 7:13 PM

I think PBS is so afraid of having their funding cut that they grossly err on the side of caution. Their cuts and blurs and bleeps are just ridiculous.

by Anonymousreply 54July 10, 2022 3:26 AM

I'm sure the British version has more nudity/buttocks. PBS clips and blurs stuff when shown stateside!

I'm on Episode 4 and loving it. I feel like I need to plan a trip to the Italian Rivera and live out the Hotel Portofino and The Talented Mr. Ripley lifestyle.

The Indian guys love interest reminds me of NPR's Ari Shapiro---I couldn't quite place who he looked like at first, but it's the Italian Version of him.

I'm now in the market for a pair of linen and leather shoes.

by Anonymousreply 55July 12, 2022 12:55 PM

Glad we got a gay plotline!

by Anonymousreply 56July 12, 2022 6:48 PM

Gay, but they don't take their trousers off during sex (or they put them back on immediately after). I had to laugh, pruriently.

by Anonymousreply 57July 12, 2022 7:11 PM


Tell me you're a man without telling me you're a man.

It's PBS, R57. Must everything be shoved up your nose. Do you have no erotic imagination? Clearly not.

by Anonymousreply 58July 12, 2022 7:18 PM

This show is next door to Miss Marple or Upstairs Downstairs in terms of target audience - it’s a positive thing, overall, to have a gay sexual relationship portrayed as generically as a straight one.

by Anonymousreply 59July 12, 2022 7:32 PM

Aren't pants still on comparable to women in the movies and tv who have sex with their bras still on?

by Anonymousreply 60July 12, 2022 9:21 PM

Its either pants on or they have sex under a sheet.

by Anonymousreply 61July 12, 2022 9:23 PM

If Natasha Mackerelhome or whatever her name is (I don't care) played a customer agent, indefatigably cheery and smiling even in the face of the worst form of Karen-esque uber-cuntery, she would deliver an Oscar-worthy performance. Unfortunately this is the only character (and facial expression) she is capable of emoting. Her incessant smiling despite what's happening in the scene or what her lines are, throws me out of my suspension of disbelief every time. She was like this in Californication too and I recall fast forwarding through all of her scenes. The fact that she's British and still as horrible an actress despite playing a Brit solidifies my impression of her acting ability.

Whilst the show is sumptuous visually, the acting is all around awful and campy, and the characters are dull and uninteresting.

by Anonymousreply 62July 12, 2022 11:30 PM

Currently watching on PBS via Prime.

The scenery is incredibly beautiful.

Judi's nephew does have a really, really fine ass. And knows it. And the costumer knows it. And the cinematographer knows it. And the director knows it.

by Anonymousreply 63July 16, 2022 11:11 PM

Partner and me watched it, quite enjoyed it, and the gay Indian guy (Anish Sengupta) was exceptionally pretty, played by this guy, the pic at the link does him no favours though, he's absolutely stunning in the series

Scenery was real nice too, filmed in Croatia

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by Anonymousreply 64July 16, 2022 11:35 PM

I think it's been watchable. Someone sure got a hate-on for it but that's not warranted IMO. I like the fascist element of it on the eve of war. That always scares me in these period pieces. To know what's coming.

by Anonymousreply 65July 17, 2022 12:35 AM

Yes, Judi's nephew has a really beautiful ass.

Assad Zaman has a nice ass as well.

Between those asses and the great scenery, I'm more than happy watching the show.

by Anonymousreply 66July 17, 2022 1:06 AM

r66, me too

by Anonymousreply 67July 20, 2022 4:10 AM

I don’t think I’ve seen pajamas as hideous as the ones they made Adam James (the American art “expert”) wear.

by Anonymousreply 68July 21, 2022 2:33 AM

Why was the tennis player snooping around everywhere?

by Anonymousreply 69July 28, 2022 12:44 AM

Watched it. It was boring, listless. Nothing like The Durrells of Corfu which was very amusing and well acted.

by Anonymousreply 70July 28, 2022 12:49 AM

I can't see anything behind that blonde wig.

by Anonymousreply 71July 28, 2022 1:07 AM

Yeah, her wig sucks

by Anonymousreply 72July 28, 2022 1:36 AM

All the characters are either cartoon villains (the husband, the tennis player, the daughter, the mother of the son's fiancee, the fascist local official, the American art dealer) or they're wimps - the owner of the hotel, the son, the Indian gay, the supposed fiancee, etc. The acting's terrible but then again they don't have much to work with.

by Anonymousreply 73July 28, 2022 2:12 AM

It is beautiful, though. I can see why Alexis wanted to take Cecil there after his heart attack.

by Anonymousreply 74July 28, 2022 2:23 AM

Since the biggest star is the scenery, it's stupid to change the setting to London to follow the unwilling fiance story. Not that his story with the maid/nanny/server is any more credible. And what does the count see in the bitchy sister?

by Anonymousreply 75July 28, 2022 3:24 AM

Wow that was some baaaddddd acting!

by Anonymousreply 76July 28, 2022 3:28 AM

I ended up enjoying it. I wanted that daughter to marry that older wealthy count. He looked like he knew his way around a woman and she'd have a nice life. And he was in love with her.

by Anonymousreply 77July 28, 2022 5:10 AM

So Hotel Portofino has been renewed for season 2. I’m fucking speechless. I can only imagine some dodgy wannabe producers are laundering money via the production?

by Anonymousreply 78July 31, 2022 11:13 PM

The female star of this show has a long nose and popped-eyes.

I cannot watch.

by Anonymousreply 79August 1, 2022 12:19 AM

Hotel Portofino is fun. Yes, it is light fare, the acting and the writing is just so, so. It has an 80's vibe, but I'm enjoying it. The scenery the cartoonish villains, the hot Italian architect, Julian and Anish should have been written as lovers, but instead Anish gets caught up with an Antifa guy. Whatever. I take it at face value. It's very easy on a Sunday night and I'm sick and tired of real life catastrophes. It pales in comparison to the Durrells, but I like it all the same and I have grown to like Natasha Mc Elhone. Or how ever you spell it. Cecil is such a conniving loser, he is fun to watch.

by Anonymousreply 80November 20, 2023 4:48 AM

It's been renewed for a 3rd season. They've been filming in Croatia since August.

by Anonymousreply 81November 20, 2023 4:49 AM

The show set in a hotel that I miss is the extraordinarily short-lived "The Halcyon." Only 8 episodes!

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by Anonymousreply 82November 20, 2023 10:21 AM

R80 & R81... it's been renewed? Man, the show was terrible and the final episode was just flat-out confusing... that card game with the hotel deed being tossed about? Geez, convoluted.

Oh and we're assuming the son's wife is dead and just floating away in the deep blue sea?

And "Nishy"... dead in the woods? Danioli is a murderer of two gays in a meadow?

by Anonymousreply 83November 20, 2023 11:20 AM

It’s not good, but I found it prettily bland. And I will say that I thought the second season took a turn for the darker and more serious in a couple of subplots, which I think was a good thing overall. I’m thinking of the three deaths in the final episode of season 2, which surprised me.

Have to join the chorus of approval for Oliver Dench. As a beauty I found him so-so at first, but that ASS in snug and clinging summer linen was as arousing as it was riveting, and the thick thighs ain’t bad either. I can see he may have a tendency toward chunkiness, but that’s okay with me, and his thick chestnut hair, peachy complexion and blue-green eyes all photograph very nicely in HD.

I’m here for season 3, Oliver should lay off the ale and meat pies.

by Anonymousreply 84November 20, 2023 11:41 AM

The reason I found season 1 watchable was because of the lovely scenery and, as R84 states, "that ASS in snug and clinging summer linen was as arousing as it was riveting."

Because Oliver's linen-covered ass didn't get the screen time in Season 2 that it did last season, I began losing interest.

I made it through season 2 only because it was only a half dozen episodes, but I think I'll stop here.

One last thing: the series would have been worth my while if Anish's love for Lucien were reciprocated.

by Anonymousreply 85November 20, 2023 11:58 AM

I watched the first two series mainly because it's like watching a car wreck and you can't turn away. I'll coin a phrase: "hate watching."

Horrible dialogue, horrible plot holes, sophomoric casting, too much reliance on mise-en-scene shots to fill air time, and a terribly miscast lead actress.

But again, I watched it.

by Anonymousreply 86November 20, 2023 12:11 PM
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